You might have seen some magazines for both men and women where editors select fashions and put some in a category of do and others in a category of don’t. When you want to be fashion forward you have to be sure that you stay far away from any styles that appear in the don’t column. What about salespeople? There may not be a fashion magazine to show you which behaviors to avoid. Here are a few areas you can start to think about even if there are no photos.
Trickery. I just got off the phone with Jim. The call started with a warm greeting of “Hey Maura. It’s Jim. Great to talk with you.” His friendliness seemed sincere. I replied, “Hi, Jim” wondering the whole time who this Jim was. I quickly learned. He was an inside salesman. Once I realized that I didn’t know him, I felt duped. Why? He acted as if he knew me when he didn’t. I felt like he tricked me. That is no way to make a customer feel. Of course I didn’t buy and I didn’t even let him get too many words out after that.
If you have to trick customers into listening to you, I can promise you that your sales efforts will be unsuccessful. Don’t pretend to know people when you don’t. Instead why not actually do some work and create a better introduction that people who don’t know you might pay attention to and listen to?
One strategy when calling is to actually be persuasive. People respond with their emotions so tap into them. They also want to be part of certain groups. If he had said, “I work with successful business owners like you…” at the beginning of his introduction then of course I would have listened. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a group of successful business owners? That would have made me feel good. I might have even bought if Jim said that.
Deceit. You probably know that referrals to prospects are a much easier way to sell. People usually trust the people who refer others to them so you walk in with more trust established. Just imagine a salesman who uses this to get appointments by saying, “John, I was referred to you by Tom” and then leaves a phone number to return the call. Now what would you say if there were no Tom?
I actually heard a salesman say this is what he does. This is called lying. You are lying if you make any claim that you know you can’t deliver. “I might be able to do this” is very different than “I can do this.” Say what you mean to customers. There is no place in successful sales for lying. To this day I pity this salesman’s customers.
Stupidity I once made a sales call with an inexperienced salesman who was anxious to close the deal. His prospect asked many questions to better understand the project. After fifteen minutes of getting questions the salesman responded to another question with, “You don’t need to know that.” The stunned customer looked at him and the sales call was over. If you want a quick way to end the sale then make your customers feel stupid. What you’ll get is no respect—and no sale.
Anyone can claim to be a salesman. There are far fewer who can claim to be successful. The ones who are successful are honest, hard working, and deliver much more than they charge for their products sand services. They don’t need photos to show them what to do.